Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Dump, Again

Today Milton and Luis and I, along with two new friends from Gulfport, Mississippi went to the dump to feed people. They were ravenously hungry and thirsty. There was pushing and shoving and clawing and grabbing to get to the food. No one wanted to wait in line. Everyone wanted their food NOW. The food was gone almost before we began. There were more little boys than I have ever seen at the dump. Some were really little. They were so dirty. I do not know how a little child ends up there.

As the dry season continues, the smell in the dump becomes worse each week. Rotten. Putrid. I can't think of adjectives to describe what we smell. It was hot and there were a couple of fires burning. My stomach turns and we were there for only a short time. Some people live in that smell.

As most people are when they visit the dump for the first time, our Mississippi friends were speechless and touched from deep within. No matter what I say here, you cannot be prepared for the sights, sounds, and smells of the dump.

My friend, Trey Morgan, from Childress, Texas has been touched, deeply touched, by the pictures on this and other blogs. He has not been here yet to see this firsthand, but he has been deeply moved. Next week, on May 5, he is raising money on his blog, so we can continue this weekly feeding at the dump. I am not sure what all Trey has planned, but he is going to be around all day. Please check out his blog.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Marc Has Gone To Texas

Today Marc left for Texas. He has three very important speaking engagements and will be gone until May 8.

I can promise you, when we moved to Honduras, the thought never entered my mind that I would stay here while Marc went to the States, or anywhere else for that matter. It was beyond what my mind could wrap itself around.

When the invitation came, of course, I was invited, too. That was before we hired Siamara, and now, leaving here and placing Karen in a bind with not enough people to do what needs to be done never entered my mind. I did not have to think about it. I simply said, I cannot go. Marc understood that completely. He did not go with me when I went to speak last November.

For years, I lived with Marc always being gone. It grew old. I know I will miss Marc and be ready for him to be home, but I am thinking I can eat popcorn for supper if I want. And probably will. I can sit in bed and read or work puzzles until 1:00 a.m. if I so desire. I probably won't, though. I am usually way too tired to stay awake that late.

After several issues cropped up today that normally Marc would handle, tonight I am thinking Karen's job may be easier than Marc's.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Frenzied Friday

Miss Maryuri when she was having a better day than today.

Today everyone had to be somewhere, but not the same place. Some of the kids had to go to school at 8:00, some to visitation, at 10:00, some to Teleton at 11:00, and one had to go to both visitation and Teleton. We sat down and carefully mapped out all of this. Dorian would leave for visitation at 9:00 and get Rosy on his way home. Karen would take the kids to school and stay here and go get them from school. I would leave for Teleton at 9:45. I would drive to Teleton and take Sandra, Doris, and Reina. I would then drive to Casitas Kennedy and get Maryuri and drive back to Teleton. Piece of cake. Right.

All went according to schedule up until the time I left Teleton for Casitas Kennedy. Karen called and said Maryuri's appointment had been changed from 12:00 to 1:00. We decided I would stay at Casitas with Dorian. Since we had not prepared any snack, I would leave Casitas at 12:00 with Maryuri and stop and get sandwiches for the girls and Sandra.

Little Maryuri had a DPT shot yesterday and is not feeling well. When it was time to leave Casitas, she started crying and screaming for her mommy. Then the mother asked if she could go to Teleton with me and talk to someone there. I did not feel good about this at all and said no. Maryuri is screaming and crying louder. I said we will stop at Wendy's. I hated saying that in front of Cindy, Brayan and Jackson because they weren't stopping. They were coming home to eat. That did not appease Maryuri. I took her in my arms and headed to my car. She only screamed louder for mommy.

My stomach and everything else was churning. In my opinion, this mother is crazy. I thought she might show up at Wendy's and/or Teleton. And, if so, I wasn't sure what I would do.

We got to Wendy's and Maryuri would not go to the bathroom, but wanted to play on the playground. I had to say no. She is still screaming for her mommy. I caressed and cuddled and spoke soothing words, all to no avail. I managed to order chicken nuggets for the girls and sandwiches for Sandra and me. When we got back in the car, I managed to settle her a bit. She loves to play where's Maryuri and she had no interest in that today.

I got to Teleton and whisked her inside. I felt safe there because no one gets inside Teleton without the proper papers. When she saw Sandra, she rushed to her. I thought maybe she will completely settle. Sandra picked her up and loved on her. Everyone eagerly ate their food except Maryuri. My stomach was still churning and I should not have eaten my sandwich. I ate it anyway. I wish I had not.

When the psychologist came for Maryuri, Sandra walked her to the door. The psychologist and Maryuri went in and shut the door. In less than five minutes, they came back out and Maryuri was having a complete meltdown. The psychologist could not even begin the session today.

We got in the car and started home.

Reina sang most of the way home. Maryuri would not sing with her. Maryuri refused to talk until we were almost home.

My heart was breaking for the child. I don't know what she was feeling. Try as I may, I could not help her or make it better for her. Please pray for this little one as she experiences emotions most of us have never known.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In this hot, dry, dusty, smoke-filled season, I am always thirsty. No matter how much water I drink, I can still taste the dust and the smoke and crave more water. Cool water is much better than room temperature water. Marck splurged and bought me a water cooler. And I do appreciate that.

I often think of the dusty little villages that have no water, much less cool water. I do not know how they stand it. Today at the dump, we were busy handing out sandwiches and bananas. I heard Marc say don't give out any more cups, we are out of water. I nearly cried. I know how much I want water. And those people are always thirsty.

As we left the dump, and I was so thirsty, and I knew the people at the dump had to be thirstier than I was, I kept thinking of the Jesus' words about drinking of the living water and never thirsting again. I like that imagery. Of never being thirsty again. Always being quenched. As we give a cup of water in the name of Jesus, I pray those people at the dump will come to know the One that will provide the living water and that they will never thirst again.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Tia Siamara

Today was the first day for our new tia to work. Siamara and her two girls, Linda and Joselyn have moved to Casa de Esperanza. Many of you will know them from Los Pinos. Siamara is a Christian and has been a hard worker in the congregation at Los Pinos. She also came highly recommended by our good friend Timoteo. She and her girls will be living in the new cottage. In thirty days, we hope to start putting new kids in that cottage with them.

Marc drove to Los Pinos to move Siamara and the girls. Everything they owned easily fit into the back of a pickup truck. Kind of sad.

We will be enrolling the girls in school here in Santa Ana. It appears all three have come ready to work.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Iglesia De Sordos Nueva Vida

Rosy and I at the dedication
Rosy and Marc coloring at Chili's while we waited for our food

Rosy devouring her sandwich

When Karen and I first visited Manos Felices, we were told once in a while Rosy would need to attend the church for the deaf. The church meets in the same building as the school and is called Iglesia de Sordos Nueva Vida. Church of Deaf New Life. This morning was one of those times. Marc and I took her.

It was a special day at this church. They were having a dedication for the students. Each child went up on the stage, introduced themselves and their parent. Rosy chose me to go with her. She signed her name and introduced me as her mama. I was beaming with pride. It got really hot on that stage with that many people up there. It was really sweet as the children and the teachers were prayed for.

Church was interesting. I never thought about this before, but deaf people do not bow their heads when someone prays. The only way they could possibly know what is being said is to watch what is being signed. There was no sound during the singing, but it was beautiful to watch and they were just as passionate about the words they sung as anyone I have ever seen. The sermon was about Noah and the ark. How only eight people were invited onto the ark, but now God invites everyone in. Latin Americans are very expressive anyway, but with that much hand motion going on, everything was expressive. Everyone was friendly and welcomed us warmly.

After church, we took Rosy to Chili's. Imagine a child who has lived on the streets and fought to survive, going into Chili's that has eight big screen tv's. And hanging lamps. And all sorts of pretty things. It was like taking a child to Disneyland. It was overstimulation. She wanted to touch and explore, but was really good about not doing those things. Of course, the minute we got there, Rosy had to go to the bathroom. Not going into the kitchen was almost too big a temptation. We ordered food, but she wanted hers right now. Marc got some chips and that satisfied. Rosy had a chicken sandwich and french fries. She salted them, licked the salt off and then ate the fries, with a lot of catchup. She ate some of her sandwich as well.

It was an exciting day and Rosy took a short nap on the way home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Karen Will Be Home Tonight

Everyone that is on the mission field full time has those special people in our lives that pray for us, encourage us, support us, send an email just at the time we think we cannot go one step more. People from Karen's home church have been in Honduras this week. I did not hesitate one second when I said I would cover for her so she could spend time with her people. We all need that from time to time.

I have known for a long time that Karen is amazing with these kids. I know even better just how amazing she is. I really do better one on one with the kids, or even groups of three or four. I do not do any where near as well as she does with all fifteen. Marc and I did not run as tight a ship as Karen does, but everyone got fed three times a day, got their homework done, got to and from school and appointments and got to bed on time. I think. I hope I did not leave a kid somewhere. We have good employees at Casa that were a tremendous help. All of them had a vital role in helping us so Karen could enjoy this week with friends, but Sandra definitely is the MVP for the week.

Sandra has worked every day. Not had a day off. I asked her last night if she was tired since she had not had a day off. She said no. I said I think I am going to die. She laughed. I was serious.

There were some nights at 8:00 or 8:30 I was not sure I could walk down here to my house. I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Marc and I definitely have had some challenges. Some kids that needed to test the waters with different people in control. But we have loved them and know each one a bit better. Today, was the most challenging for everyone. Not only was there no electricity all day and into the night, I think everyone was missing Mommy Karen. They are ready for her to be back.

I know before I even talk to Karen that she had a great time with her friends. I also know, even though at this moment, I am so exhausted I feel I could sleep for a week, that next time Karen's people come to town I will gladly do the same thing all over again.


Thursday, April 16, 2009


From the least to the oldest, all the children at Casa de Esperanza have chores. The children are assingned one chore for a week. It rotates every week.

As we take these children to raise, we have to think about preparing them to live in Honduras in ten or fifteen years. The older children are being taught things that will help them prepare to live in Honduras in the future.

Dennis worked with Brayan and Fito, showing them how to cut grass with the macheti. He was patient as he taught them. Brayan, especially is getting pretty good with that macheti.

Everyone will be taught to use the pila. Dilcia, Reina, and Elvia teach those lessons. They have worked with Doris. Today she was out there by herself washing away. Singing and smiling as she worked. When she saw Marc and I watching her, in true Doris fashion, she began to giggle. I watched a while. Seems like she is getting that down pretty good.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Making Mud Pies

Doris, Reina (aka Monica) and Katty had a grand old time making and playing in the mud this afternoon. Reina must have sat down right in the middle of the mud because the seat of her pants were covered in mud. Doris and Katty had it all over them

Anyone care to guess who was duty this afternoon. Abuelo (grandpa) Marc. He called me to bring the camera and get some pictures. I am sure the staff that has to wash those kids and wash those clothes will want to fire us. Or maybe, they will make Marc wash the clothes on the pila. Trust me, if they do, I will post a picture of Marc using the pila.

Remember how much fun it was to play in the mud. The girls had a great time. And they cleaned up just fine.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Worship At The Cross

This flower is called the cross of Jesus. The thorns are large and I did not touch it. But I think the crown of thorns that was placed on the head of Jesus was much larger than these.
In Santa Ana there is a Cruz de Chartarra ( Cross of scrapiron). We decided to have church there before our Atlanta group left. I thought it was fitting on Easter morning.

The bus ride up there made going up the front side of Los Pinos look easy. I know many of you are sorry you missed the bus ride. Just the bus ride was a good way to start focusing on the cross.

As we sat around the cross, it was easy to focus on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Sitting, looking at the cross, I found it was easy to imagine Jesus hanging there. To visualize the ugliness of the crucifxion. More than once I was moved to tears. How did God sacrifice His son, His only son? I don't know how He did. But He is God and I am not.

The prayers, the songs, and the communion were all very meaningful. The cross represents victory. And hope. We serve a living savior, not a dead one.

After our worship, it was back on the bus for a trip back down the mountain and on to the airport. We hugged our friends good-bye and sent them on their way back to Atlanta.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fire Season

We are in the middle of the long, hot dry season. It usually goes six months without raining. It is so dusty. I feel like I am eating dirt all the time. There is no way to keep my car clean. It was washed on Tuesday and already looks like it hasn't been washed in a year.

The rivers are dry. Marc was in Nueva Oriental earlier this week with the group from Atlanta. There was no water there. Not a drop anywhere. Marc took care of getting water into the community before everything shut down for Semana Santa.

There are fires burning everyday. Everywhere. As I drive up and down our mountain, I see several fires burning. Sometimes I just see the smoke rising high above the mountains. Other times I can see the flames leaping, consuming everything in their path. I can hear the crackling of the dry brush. A haze hangs over the valley in which Tegucigalpa sits.

Last weekend, fourteen people lost their lives in the fires. I am sure homes are being destroyed and untold damage being done. The paper reports more respiratory illnesses than normal, even during the dry season.

Please pray that this fire season soon comes to an end.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fried Chicken Day At The Dump

Some of the many boxes of chicken

The long line waiting for a piece of chicken

Enjoying fruit juice and chicken

Working the garbage

Today, being Wednesday, meant it was time to feed hungry people at the dump again. Our friends from Atlanta wanted to do more than just give bologna sandwiches. We still did the sandwiches, but we also took 325 pieces of Church's fried chicken. Instead of water, we took twelve ounce cans of fruit drink. And for the kids, there were cookies.

The group made sandwiches while Marc went to town and ordered the chicken. While he was waiting on that much chicken to fry, he bought the drinks and cookies. Shortly, after 10:00, the people on the bus, the people in my car, Milton and Luis all arrived at Church's where Marc was still waiting on the chicken. Some of the group jumped off the bus and had Dunkin' Donuts while waiting.

Sometimes I wonder what Hondurans think of Gringos that come in and order 325 pieces of chicken at 9:00 in the morning and then start taking pictures of it.

We finally headed for the dump much later than we originally thought we would. Welcome to Honduras. Unknown to me, last week Marc told some people there would be fried chicken this week. When we got there and got out of the cars, people began running toward us and yelling chicken. I was wondering how they knew before they got to the truck.

Everyone lined up and waited, which has not been the case the last few weeks. The chicken was a huge success. Each person got a sandwich, one piece of chicken and a drink. Many just plopped down on the ground and began to eat. The cookies also brought big smiles to many faces.

Back in Decmeber, when the group from Tupelo came to hand out Christmas boxes in the dump, I saw two little girls. I wanted to rescue those little girls from the dump and bring them to Casa de Esperanza. I have not seen those little girls since. Until today. They are still filthy and hungry and still need rescued.

After all the food and drinks were gone, we walked closer to the garbage piles where people were working. Every bag of garbage was emptied and thoroughly searched. Every plastic bottle was removed and placed in a pile. Anything that could be recycled or reused was kept. Some were searching for food and keeping any little scrap they could find.

Some of the boys brought a soccer ball and began playing with some of the children. When it was time to leave, they chose to leave the soccer ball with the kids with whom they had been playing.

As we loaded into the vehicles, there was not a dry eye. We go to the dump every week, but something unexplainable and different happened out there today.

Fried chicken, fruit juice and cookies may not be the typical Easter or passover meal, but what joy it brought to starving people today.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Yesterday afternoon I was on the playground with the kids that weren't working on homework. Sisi picked up a plastic baseball bat and ball. We walked over near the dorm and I started throwing the ball to her. She has a natural good stance. She connected with the ball more than I thought she would. With some work, she would be hitting more than she missed. Soon Cindy and Anita joined us. Then Daniela and then Jackson. I threw the ball five times to each child.

Cindy hit the ball almost everytime. I told her her new name was Slugger Cindy. She smiled a big smile. Daniela held the bat vertical and still managed to hit the ball a few times. No matter who hit the ball, or how many times one person hit it, everyone else clapped and cheered.

Some of these kids have some natural athletic ability. If they were in the U.S., they would more than likely be in dance, gymnastics, t-ball/baseball/softball, soccer or football. Living in Honduras they will never have that opportunity. Instead, they are content to play ball with a plastic ball and bat, with me as a pitcher.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Skit And A Magic Show

Atlanta group perfoming skit

Jackson was part of the magic show

Happy faces as they watch the magic

Today our friends from Atlanta worshipped at Santa Ana. It was a full house this morning. That is always good. The Atlanta people had prepared a skit on the prodigal son. They did that for our congregation, complete with a spanish translator. They did a great job.

After church, they hung out with the kids until it was time for the kids to eat. Right before the kids ate, there was a magic show. Some of the kids sat with their mouths open, in awe of the tricks being performed. Others giggled and clapped. The tricks were fun and funny, but for me, watching the kids' reactions was more fun.

After leaving Casa de Esperanza, we went to the Valley of Angels. I mostly sat at the coffee shop fellowshipping with different ones as they came and went. Fellowshipping with other North Americans is just what I needed. We ended the day with a great devotional at the Jesus statue.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A House for Gabriella's Family

At 1:00 the posts, the back wall, one side wall, which cannot be seen and most of the middle wall was done. Hopefully, the rest should go pretty fast.

Yesterday a group from Atlanta arrived. They came planning to build four houses. And they wanted to get started today.

As Marc has worked with Gabriella's family to get the surgeries done and necessary things to help take care of this young lady's needs, he has learned more about the family. Gabriella has a younger sister that was also on the same motorcycle as Gabriella. Her leg was also broken, but could be casted. The family lives on the Choluteca highway just a few miles from here. The mother sells fruits and other things along the highway to travelers that are going between Choluteca and Tegucigalpa. It is a hard way to make a living.

The mom has not been working as much as she usually does since her daughters' accident. She has been going back and forth to the hospital. Not only is she not working, she is paying bus fare. The amount of bus fare may not sound like much to us, but to someone that has very little money to start with, and then has even less, it is a huge amount.

There are several children in the family and they were living in a very small, crowded house. They own land and presented their papers. Marc and the Atlanta group are building Gabriella's family a house today. They are building what we call a double wide. It uses the lumber of two houses and is quite a bit larger than a normal house. It is a lot of work to build one of these double wides. The engineering is a bit different. By building this house, it is our hope Gabriella and her sister will have some room to recuperate as they need to, without sharing a bed with any other person.

This morning I went to the airport to get two more of the team members that were arriving. They were ready to get to the job site and help with this house. It is very hot today. When I got to the job site, the house was progressing nicely. Tons of gatorade and water have already been drunk. I am sure many more bottles will be needed. Everyone was hot and some were quite pink already. But there was no complaining and lots of smiles.

There is something about building a house in Honduras that brings a lot of smiles from everyone involved, both the builders and the recipients.

Thanks Atlanta for taking care of this need.


Friday, April 3, 2009


Reina, Sisi, Maryuri
A better shot of Maryuri, standing in the pool.

Doris, finally in the pool

Reina with her doorprize

Today there was a fiesta at Teleton. A celebration of spring. At 7:15 this morning, Sisi, Doris, Maryuri and Reina Isabell (aka Monica) loaded in my car so we could go to the party.

Maryuri was so excited she would not eat breakfast. She jumped in the car and pulled up her shirt to show me she had on her swimsuit underneath. On the way to Sandra's, Sisi talked nonstop. There were dancing eyes and happy smiles as we drove to Tegucigalpa.

I never know how the traffic is going to be. I knew I would be on the tail end of the morning rush and allowed plenty of time. We were early. There were seven swimming pools set up, filled with water and ready to be played in. But we had to wait. Our girls waited patiently.

When they could get in, Sisi, Reina, and Maryuri ran for a pool. Strangely enough, they did not run for the one nearest us. They jumped in and were splashing and giggling. After a few minutes, I walked Doris over to a pool and she would have nothing to do with it. After another few minutes, Sandra walked her over to where the other girls were playing. She stood beside the pool for quite some time. The girls were trying to coax her in. Sisi and Reina pulled on one of her legs. They were going to force her into that pool. She pulled free of the grasp and gently stepped into the pool.

Each child was introduced and had to walk across the courtyard in front of everyone. Reina and Maryuri did not know which way to go, Doris was scared and Sisi put covered her face with her hands and quickly got it done.

One of the guys tried to have some organized games. No socializing for Doris. She beat a hastry retreat back to a pool. One game was played for a few minutes,but with seven pools of water, he lost everyone's attention rapidly.

There were door prizes. Reina's name was called. Sisi was crushed when hers was not.

After games and doorprizes, everyone jumped back in the pools. Our four girls were in three different pools. I did not like that. Sandra herded them back into one. I liked that much better.

We take snacks to Teleton when we go for classes. Karen and I decided not to send any. If it was a party, surely food would be served. That is the way we Americans think isn't it. You can't have fun without food. There was no food served and everyone had a great time.

I am sure those girls are taking a good nap this afternoon.